As a result of Hurricane Matthew, a roughly 12'x4' area on my roof had the shingles blown off. I found the matching shingles today and bought (2) bundles which should be plenty to cover the area.

In the damaged area, 98% is still covered in the original tar paper and intact. However a small about 6"x8" section ripped up and is exposing the wood. It appears at the big box hardware stores, the only way to get tar paper is in massive rolls (most likely for doing an entire roof). I was wondering if there is any alternative I could use for that very small exposed area like a heavy plastic sheet or something else I can get in a smaller quantity. If tar paper is the only thing I can use than that's fine I'll figure it out, but I figure I'd ask the experts here on the best way to cover the exposed wood and repair these shingles. I work on computers for a living, so extra details in this area as I'm just a weekend handyman for my house is much appreciated.

  • 2
    Honestly, I'd probably just ask a neighbour or somebody working on similar damage to spot you a couple of feet.
    – Comintern
    Oct 9, 2016 at 4:28
  • 3
    If you can afford the roll, buy it and donate the rest to Habitat for Humanity or similar organization. I am sure there will be plenty of people in your area that will have trouble affording roof repairs. I would open up a larger section and make sure the area is dry and the plywood hasn't delaminated.
    – mikes
    Oct 9, 2016 at 11:44
  • A roll of 90 lb is less than 20$ at Home Depot. I would not use plastic. 5$ to a neighbor doing similar work may work like @comintern suggest .
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 9, 2016 at 16:21
  • So I went to buy an entire roll as suggested and it was out everywhere due to the hurricane. I ended up paying a professional roofing company $500 yesterday to fix the roof. :/
    – atconway
    Oct 10, 2016 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


a product named tyvec woven paper and plastic sometimes used prior to shingles and siding. works well and not to expensive find at most lumber yards, the tar paper is mainly a vapor barrier as far as a small repair as yours i see no reason that a small plastic tarp wouldnt work as long as it is seal to the existing tarp using calking or liquid nails

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